Alexander drachms in CNG auctions

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Archilochus, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. Archilochus

    Archilochus Member

    Hi all,

    I noticed that the last few CNG electronic auctions have had loads of high-grade Alexander drachms from the "drachm mints" of Abydos, Lampsakos, Miletos, etc in the 325-317 BCE time frame. The auction posted today (closing Aug 22) has over 100 of them. Does that signal that a new hoard has come on to the market? Or is it more likely a deep collection being sold? Or perhaps it's something more mundane, like inventory management?...

    I also noticed the last few auctions have had staters of Monounios, which are supposed to be pretty rare, so the same question applies: new hoard, or what?

    Apologies if this is a dumb question - I've only been collecting a couple years and don't know all the ropes.
     
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  3. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    Seems like a fair question...sorry, I don't follow CNG or know what's going on in the larger market.
     
  4. Smojo

    Smojo dreamliner

    That was my thought as well.
    I have had them on my want list for a couple of years myself and passed on them last auction. This time however I bid on 2 and was able to get 1 of them. Clio of all people got the better of the 2.
     
    Caesar_Augustus likes this.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Lets put to rest any thought that these are rare coins. There are enough types that the standard reference is quite some book.
    https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/ch...eat_and_philip_arrhidaeus/787745/Default.aspx
    Obviously there are some rare types an some common ones. The standard CNG customer is obviously more interested in them than I am. They are good looking coins of someone everyone knows so it is not a surprise they sell well. It seems there are many people collecting them by variety. I can only assume that the few I have are the common ones that are not in high demand. I know that is the case with my personal favorite. It is a fourree of Arados.
    g71980b00321.jpg
     
  6. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I have no idea either, but my eyes started to glaze over after looking through the first couple dozen. Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of AtG drachms. It's probably just the effect of being presented with one instead of one hundred, but Doug's fourree looks much more interesting to me than any of those in the CNG sale.
     
    Archilochus and TIF like this.
  7. Smojo

    Smojo dreamliner

    I don't think the OP was saying that they are rare by any means. I also noticed the sudden masses of the drachms available not just on CNG.
    I just looked at it as an oportunity to fill a long time want of the type at a cost of less than I would have paid this time last year.
     
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I think this is an interesting question (and not dumb at all). Common or not, a sudden influx of the same type may indicate a hoard, and I find hoards to be very interesting for historical/numismatic reasons. For collecting reasons, a big hoard may put a formerly expensive coin within range for those of us on a budget.

    Even scrounging on eBay, I find Alexander the Great (and successors) drachms to be rather pricy - $50 for a scruffy one if you're lucky. A few thousand "common" pretty ones coming on the market would be great.
     
    Archilochus likes this.
  9. Archilochus

    Archilochus Member

    Ha, I know what you're saying. Although the stories behind them are probably interesting. I read somewhere that one of the reasons Alexander wanted to pay his soldiers & mercenaries in these port cities of Asia Minor, rather than in Babylon/Susa/Tyre or wherever else they happened to be, is that he wanted them to go home! He didn't want a Mamertine-like situation to emerge, in which his deadly former employees decided to hang around and potentially cause trouble. So he made them go 90% of the way back to Greece if they wanted to get paid.

    I can't help but wonder when I see these EF drachms coming to market: the soldier who buried these, why didn't he go home and spend his money into circulation? Perhaps he wheeled around and joined some faction in the wars of the Diadochi, and things didn't work out for him.
     
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  10. iamtiberius

    iamtiberius SPQR Supporter

    I'm sure @Ardatirion would know. Have any input that you're able to add, Bill?
     
  11. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    He hasn't been on since May.
     
  12. iamtiberius

    iamtiberius SPQR Supporter

    I'll send him an email.
     
  13. Valentinian

    Valentinian Supporter! Supporter

    I have an extensive library of old catalogs, and it being summer, I have been looking through old catalogs (especially Spink catalogs) and I can tell you there have always been "masses of the drachms available." Maybe not 20 in any given catalog, and I do not deny the ones we are noticing might be from a recent hoard, but there have always been "recent hoards."

    They tend to cost $50 and up because many of us think $50 is low for a type of Alexander the Great and would be glad to add still another one to our collections. I wonder what fraction of US-coin collectors would defect to the dark side if they realized they could get a genuine, legible, coin over 2000 years old of Alexander the Great in the $50-$100 range? I've been at it 47 years and still find that amazing!
     
  14. Smojo

    Smojo dreamliner

    I completely agree with everything you said.
    I generaly prefer the coins with wear and well circulated. Although there are a few types that I want to stand out in my collection that have minimal wear. Those if you're able to get at a decent price why not spend a few extra dollars and get one you'll be happy with? Just my crazy way of thinking.
    I'll also hold out for the Attica/owl in the same way.
     
    Valentinian likes this.
  15. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    The drachm coinage may not have anything to do with the returning veterans as some 11,000 of them were still in Cilicia under the command of Craterus when he died. It would seem that the rational for this coinage might be economic.This area of the Persian Empire was dominated by the siglos which remain undisturbed long after Alexander passed through the region. Alexander may have waited untill as late as 325 B.C. to finally convert this coinage into drachms of Attic weight. The number of cities involved in this activity would allow the recoining to be done quickly. We have seen a similar process occur under Hadrian when the older cistophoric coins were brought in and in that case re struck.
     
  16. Ardatirion

    Ardatirion Où est mon poisson

    Hello all. How on earth have I not logged in since May?! I used to be on here every day!

    You have all noticed the Alexander drachms working through the system, and at least one person mentioned the Illyrian staters. If you look closely, you'll also notice Athenian owls, random non-Thessalian ex-BCD pieces, and some gold darics in higher than usual numbers. These are all things that we've had in the safe for a little while, or a long while in some cases, and have been parceling out slowly.

    There's two reasons for them to appear in larger numbers right now: First, its August, and a number of the numismatists are on vacation! Runs of Alexanders catalog pretty quickly, making it a bit easier on the remaining staff. And secondly, with the ANA show currently taking place, we wanted to provide dealers and more general collectors with some good runs of high grade coins.
     
  17. iamtiberius

    iamtiberius SPQR Supporter

    @Ardatirion Thanks for dropping by. Any archaic silver sitting in that safe that you want to unleash on some of the e auctions?
     
  18. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Archilochus, I noticed the same thing about CNG, & now more are appearing with Heritage. It looks like a hoard was unloaded. I bought a nice looking one at Heritage not long ago, pictured below, from Miletos. Another one of the same type recently sold at CNG for $293, see below. The CNG example has a nice looking reverse but the obverse was struck from a very worn die. Miletos, c. 295-294 BC.jpg NGC 4625720-058 obv..jpg NGC 4625720-058 rev..jpg
     
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